3 January 2022  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

I am grappling with the church’s stance on abortion. Adventist.org offers little more than the vague suggestion to use your own conviction to make a decision. While they “do not condone” abortion outright, they take no stand in condemning the termination of life.

On the flip side, they state clearly that our church is “opposed to homosexuality,” so I know they can draw a hard line when they want to. No such wording is used in the context of abortion. Following this, I discovered Adventist hospitals do indeed perform abortions.

This lukewarm stance on such a grave issue has left me confused and heartbroken. What if a woman in a tough place is led to sin by this permissiveness? The medical staff performing abortions is also being asked to sin. While it is in the spirit of Christ to forgive a woman who has aborted her baby, it is another thing entirely to perform or support an abortion. How can I reconcile this with our life-affirming God who knit us together in our mother’s womb? 

Signed, Mother of Many

Dear Mother,

Aunt Sevvy can hear your kind heart through your letter. It is clear that you care deeply for children, and for the souls of women and medical providers. Thank you for your tender heart. 

The biggest problem in the abortion debate is knowing who we should be feeling empathy for. One side feels empathy for a potential life; the other side feels empathy for a woman who cannot care for a baby. Aunt Sevvy knows from years of experience that trying to convince you to change your opinion about abortion is probably a lost cause.

But, for the sake of answering your question thoroughly, here is what Aunt Sevvy thinks. 

Imagine for a moment that you are a young woman. Perhaps you are married, perhaps single. And you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant. Maybe you were irresponsible. Or maybe you were raped. Or maybe your birth control failed.

Now you are facing a lifetime commitment. Are you prepared to devote your life to this unexpected child? 

The question here is, does the punishment fit the crime? Many people believe that if a woman gets pregnant then she deserves what she gets. The problem with that logic, of course, is that the life you are trying to protect, that of the embryo, is the one who is most likely to suffer. And asking a woman to devote a lifetime because of an accidental pregnancy is not a fair return. Not to mention it is only the woman who will suffer. A man who gets a woman pregnant and then skips out of her life will suffer zero consequences for the same “crime.” How exactly is that fair?

Early abortion is less about taking a life, and more about preventing a life. The same way that birth control would prevent a life. Loma Linda University ethicist Jim Walters has made that point here.

And by preventing that life we prevent an unwanted child which is a recipe for abuse, neglect, and a lifetime of unhappiness. I feel how your heart loves babies. My heart does too. That’s why I support access to abortion. Because every child who is born should be wanted.

We could fight about when life begins but that has proved an unproductive debate. Rather, I wish we could acknowledge that we both care about people, in different ways, and try to extend our empathy to each other and to those who have to make this terrible choice.

Aunt Sevvy

You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identification of the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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